How to filter features while building an MVP*

How to filter features while building an MVP*


Written by Marko, Ljubljana, 2020

In this magical time, your app idea is on paper and your savings account is answering yes. You have been scrolling through Appstore for a while now, there is nothing just like it on the market yet. Awesome!

Next step. You need the right team for your future product. Also very important you don’t want a featureless skeleton. Perfect. For the purpose of the story, let's say your idea is a new dating app. Another search away and you find UpWork. This impressive matchmaking online web page returns a long list of proposals for your new project. Estimations are varying from only a thousand to five-figure numbers. Not just what you expected, but ok somewhere in the middle will do. Let's take a leap of faith here, cut some features that feel insignificant, and begin building the product. Leap of faith, really? What if I tell you there is another way?

How to scope your product and minimize the fail rate

We said you are building a dating app, something that will disrupt the dating app market. A general list of your features goes: card swiping, video calls, chat, Stories, and subscriptions.

Here are three perspectives or options:

  1. If we ask an investor. A payment system is important for every MVP, proof of a sold item. Due to the pandemic real live dating is off, so video calls make sense. That leaves us with taking away the stories.
  2. We want people to chat. Exchange stories, experiences, have conversations. Sometimes Stories can play an important role after the matchmaking with swipes is done. These little 10 second snaps can be good conversation starters. So we need a chat, we need video, we need Stories and swiping. That leaves us with taking away the payment system/subscriptions. Anyway, there might be a better metric than proof our product has a market fit.
  3. What if we take away the swiping? Maybe there is a way to use the Stories principle not only for conversation starters but also for matchmaking. Hmm ok, might be.

Every option seems equally good, but we still don’t know which one is the best. To be honest, I don’t think we ever will until we try, but we can start off with the best option. The answer to this is the workshop. One where you invite a few perfect users and few people from the team. It is a wonder how far we were able to come in just a two-hour workshop.

*MVP = Minimum Viable product

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Marko Balazic

Product Design